Have you ever wondered why your cut bulb flowers don’t last as long as ones from the florist? Read on to find out the tips and tricks of picking, and our top bulb choices for longer-lasting, vibrant flowers.
Picking the flowers
Ensure you cut your flowers in the early morning, before the sun hits the plant (never at mid-day!). This is the best time because they are at their most hydrated. Never pick flowers in the sun as the plant is naturally releasing moisture, which decreases the cut flower life as the plant is dehydrated.
Collecting and Conditioning
You will have noticed some bulb stems are very watery, gooey and fleshy. Because of this you can potentially damage the stem easily if using blunt equipment, and the mashed or torn stems will decrease your vase life. Cutting one stem at a time also ensures a clean cut.
Use quality secateurs such as ARS to cut the stems, and cut on an angle. The exceptions to this rule are daffodils and hyacinths, which prefer to be cut horizontally just above soil level. Try not to destroy or cut off too much of the foliage as the bulbs require the foliage to obtain energy and nutrients. You will also benefit from having a small container with a diluted bleach solution nearby to dip your secateur blades in; this will help to prevent the gooey liquid from setting on your blades (1 part bleach to 9 parts water).
When collecting your flowers, ensure you have a clean bucket of cold water to put them straight into. Once collected, place in a cool area for three hours before arranging. Daffodils must be in their own bucket because they have a sap that shortens the life expectancy of other flowers if in the same bucket. By separating them out you are flushing the toxins away and can regroup with other flowers after the three hours, into a joint arrangement. If you want the flowers to open that day, use warm water in the bucket instead of cold.
Best Bulbs for Picking
Cut freesias when you see the first bud open. If your stems are multi-branched, remove those as they will not flower. Freesias should last for over a week.
Pick when the flower bud is at a 90-degree angle as they just start to open, not facing towards the sky. Don’t pick before they have reached this 90-degree angle, as they won’t open fully.
Irises are one of the best cut flowers are their stems are hardy. Irises should be picked when the bud shows colour but has not opened. Allow one flower to fully open on the plant before picking.
Always cut your tulips when the flower bud shows the slightest colour around the edges, but the remaining bud is still green. Because you pick before they show their true colour, a plant label may be useful to determine what you planted where. When cutting, ensure you include the closest two leaves to the flower as the sugar content from these leaves will help the flower to open and enhance its colour.
Ensure your water is topped up as needed, and that the vase is positioned in a cool spot as full sun will substantially shorten your flowers’ life span. Recut the ends of the stems by 1cm every 3-4 days so the stems can take in fresh water.